The opening session of the 2022 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale blew away last year’s record-breaking first session by more than $3.5 million. The gross was up 24 per cent and the average increased by 17 per cent.
story by Dave Briggs, quotes by James Platz and Dave Briggs
If last year’s opening session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale was considered jaw-dropping, what to make of this year’s first session which obliterated records for gross, average, median and number of horses that sold for $100,000 or more?
Monday night at Fasig-Tipton, 122 yearlings went through the ring, grossing $23,067,000, averaging $189,078 and posting a median of $160,000. Eighty-nine yearlings sold for $100,000 or more.
The gross was up 24 per cent, over more the $3.5 million, compared to the $18,540,000 taken in on opening night in 2021. The average was up 17 per cent over the $161,217 from last year and the media was up 52 per cent from the $105,000 set a year ago and up 33 per cent from the previous record of $120,000 set in 2018. Twenty more yearlings sold for six figures this year than last year.
The session concluded around 11:30 p.m.
“Coming into it, we were saying all along that it was deep and broad,” said sale co-manager David Reid. “When you’re bringing new sires and you’re bringing first foals and you’re bringing world champion mares like Hannelore Hanover and Youaremycandygirl, you’re bringing Greenshoes and Muscle Hills and Walners and Chapter Sevens, Captaintreacherouses… You go back through the night – pacing fillies, trotting fillies, trotting colts, across the board it was very solid.”
Reid’s co-manager Randy Manges said, “Last year our total sale was $18 million and this year it’s 23 million… I was really pleased with the way that 99 per cent of the horses sold.
“A lot of horses sold for $300,000 or $400,000 and that’s big. I mean, we didn’t have a million-dollar horse, but we didn’t have that last year, either. A few years ago, that was an important part of the high-average first session.”
As for poor economic indicators, Reid said they were trumped by one positive one: high purses.
“There were three economic indicators that were negative and there was one positive,” Reid said. “We talked about recession, the currency and the stock market and those were all negative in the general marketplace, but the economics for the horse business is that purses are at an all-time high or close to an all-time high. You’ve got Kentucky and they came in the last 2, 3, 4 years. Ohio’s got a big program. New Jersey added the series in September. Massachusetts is going to go for good finals. You’ve got Ontario that’s announced next year that it’s going to go for more money. New York is status quo. Indiana has big finals there. I don’t want to say that our sport is becoming a jurisdictional or regional sport, but in ways it is in terms of sires stakes programs.
“The other thing is that you can’t underestimate that when we talk about those purses, a lot of it is Kentucky and the large part of the horses here are dual eligible. I think there’s 350 yearlings here that are dual eligible out of 900 and that’s a big percentage.”
Reid also said there was a strong European presence after two years of COVID-19 restrictions.
“The Europeans were strong here. We had a great crowd and really it’s just a credit to the breeders and the people who bring the product here,” Reid said. “Some people say it’s the best catalogue, but it’s hard to compare because every year. You’re just trying to assemble the best that you have that year. We’re breeding these horses two years ago and whether they are right or whether they are wrong, the sale company is dependent on that. I think there’s been a broad representation.”
Kentuckiana co-owner Bob Brady said, “We knew coming in the strength of the catalogue. Talking with different people at the farms and looking… there was a lot of quality in this sale. There really wasn’t the one horse that they had to have, but every consignor had something and some with very high-end horses, so that’s going to spread out the money some, which is actually better for the market because every breeder has a shot.
“This is great for the industry. In the market, it shows there’s lots of global support and it’s an excellent sale so far.”
SALE TOPPER FETCHES $725,000
Diamond Creek bought the session topper Hip 57 Epoch for $725,000. The Chapter Seven filly is the fourth foal out of Jolene Jolene and was consigned by Hunterton Sale Agency Inc., agent. Jolene Jolene has already produced Mohawk Million winner Venerable and $500,000+ winner Crucial.
“She is a lovely filly, checked all the boxes… obviously family, individual, paddock performance,” said Shaun Laungani vice-president and director of bloodstock services for Diamond Creek. “We turned her out once and only needed about 30 seconds. We vetted her pretty hard and she was virtually flawless to us. Everybody all day was talking about how she was the nicest in the sale. We thought $1 million was likely. We never thought we’d even be close. We’re just a little above what we had budgeted, but totally happy. Never thought we could get her for what we did.
“Hip 57 was a total surprise and probably the filly that we wanted the very most in the sale. We’re super pumped that we got her and I think Chris, Adam (Bowden’s) dad, is really excited, too.
“It’s just really, really hard to buy ones like that. She has the potential to change our broodmare band so it’s a risk we have to take.
“We also bought the Test of Faith sister, Hip 15, and we’re super pumped about her. What I thought was a seller’s market, we’ve just adapted and adjusted and it appears to be a buyer’s market for us.”
Hip 15 Show Of Faith is a Captaintreacherous filly out of Cannae Cammie that sold for $250,000 out of the All American Harnessbreds consignment.
“That one was really weird because we were game, but, again, we thought she would bring more
Trainer Marcus Melander paid $550,000 for Hip 70 Vic Zelenskyy, the Greenshoe colt out of Mission Brief.
“We bought the sister (Jaya Bae) here a couple of years ago,” Melander said. “She’s a really nice horse, but she has some soreness issues. This individual looked as great as her. Obviously, he is the first colt out of Mission Brief and out of Greenshoe, which I trained… I really liked what I saw. He had great conformation, great video and I’m thrilled to get him.
“It’s a lot of money, I’m not going to say it was cheap, but it’s still the first colt out of Mission Brief, by Greenshoe, and he looks good, so we thought between $500,000 and $600,000.”
Melander also will train Hip 47 Holy Grail Hanover, the Greenshoe colt out of Holy Grail Hanover that sold for $435,000 to Anders Strom out of the Hanover Shoe Farms consignment.
“He is also a great-looking colt. He looked great on the video with great conformation,” Melander said.
Melander was the leading buyer by gross. He spent $1,910,000 to bring home eight yearlings.
Montreal’s Determination Stable was next with a total expenditure of $1,525,000 for four yearlings, including the other $550,000 one — Hip 80 Youbet Hanover, a Bettors Delight filly out of Youaremycandygirl consigned by Hanover Shoe Farms.
Hip 63 Awaiting, a Walner filly out of Lonely Lady sold for $525,000 to Ken Jacobs of Baldwinsville, NY out of the Hunterton consignment.
“It’s a sister to my filly (Walner Payton) and she’s won $350,000 and we’re going into the Breeders Crown,” Jacobs said. “It looked the part. And my other one is doing quite well, so… and I do a lot of research. I do so much bloodline work and video work, so I knew I was going after this horse. Usually when I go after a horse, I’m going to be the buyer. Unfortunately, I didn’t think I’d pay that much, but I did.”
Jacobs said Chris Ryder will train Awaiting.
Greg Luther of Blacklick, OH paid $525,000 to buy Hip 74 Stardust Volo, a Muscle Hill filly out of Sterling Volo from Kentuckiana.
“We’re trying to get to the Grand Circuit stock so I don’t want any of the average horses anymore,” Luther said. “We’re definitely trying to upgrade as much as possible. You get a lot of residual income with the trotting fillies and that’s always another option for them.
“This filly here, we gave a little over half a million for her and as soon as I was signing on her, we were already getting offers at $350,000 and $400,000 for a broodmare. So, if she doesn’t work out, please call me. I had three people ask me that, so it’s really a good way to hedge your bet that way.”
Hip 51 Slip Sliding Away, a Father Patrick filly out of Ice Attraction, sold for $510,000 to Jim Glass, agent, on behalf of Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld from the Preferred Equine consignment.
“She’s a spectacular individual with a spectacular pedigree. This is what Al and I do, try to find top-level trotting fillies,” Katz said.
GREENSHOE MAKES IMPRESSIVE DEBUT
The first crop of Greenshoe were extremely well received. He was the top sire by gross, with 19 yearlings selling for $4,132,000 in total. His average of $217,474 was second only to Bettors Delight’s $360,000 average for three sold.
“One thing that you really have to appreciate is how well Greenshoe was received,” Brady said. “They sold excellent. People liked them and I knew all summer long that they were going to buy them, because the Greenshoes are correct, they have nice legs, long-legged, and they are very, very athletic.”
Fillies dominated the night. Pacing fillies led the way by averaging $237,333, followed by trotting fillies ($201,854), trotting colts ($183,883) and pacing colts ($148,524).
HUNTERTON, PREFERRED TOP CONSIGNORS
Hunterton led all consignors with gross sales of $5,137,000 for 21 yearlings, an average of $244,619. Kentuckiana was next with gross sales of $3,485,000.
Reid’s Preferred Equine topped consignors in average with $246,071 for 14 sold, grossing $3,445,000.
THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING
Katz said he expects the sale to be, “strong all the way through. I think there’s top-level horses here and there’s a tremendous amount of money to race for in our industry. The opportunities for racing have grown and I don’t see any reason why these horses won’t sell well.
Manges said Monday night is just the beginning.
“(Tuesday) we’ve got some very, very good horses,” Manges said. “And it was the same last year, after the first session it was, like, ‘How are you going to match it?’ Well, you don’t match it, but (Tuesday) we’ve got some very, very good horses and it’ll be a good session. Momentum will carry.”
Today’s session begins at 2 p.m., followed by 2 p.m. sessions on Wednesday and Thursday and a final Friday session that starts at 7 p.m. Saturday is the Mixed Sale. It starts at 7 p.m.